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Devotional by Ray Stedman for November 8- Our Great and Glorious God

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Topic:Our Great and Glorious God

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Romans 11:33-36

Ray Stedman devotion
Ray Stedman

This reminder of the strange ways God works awakens within Paul a tremendous outburst for God’s inscrutable wisdom and his ways with men. You can see certain things that have amazed the apostle: There are the deep riches, as Paul calls them, the deep riches of God’s wisdom and of his ways. They are beyond human exploration. There is no way we can finally fathom God.

There are those who struggle to put God in a box where they can get hold of him and analyze him. But if they succeed in that, they have only reduced God to the size of a man. God is greater than man. He is beyond us. Our minds cannot grasp the greatness of God! We can understand what he tells us about himself, but even beyond that, there is much more that we cannot know. There are depths of riches. That is why we are always being surprised by God if we trust him. He is always enriching us in ways that we don’t anticipate. Then Paul speaks of God’s “unsearchable judgments.”

For instance, it is clear from Scripture that nothing God ever planned interferes with human responsibility. We are free to make choices. We know it. We feel ourselves free to decide to do this or that, to do good or bad. And yet the amazing thing is that nothing humans ever do can frustrate God’s sovereign plan. Isn’t that amazing? No matter what we do, whether we choose this or that with the freedom of choice we have, ultimately it all works out to accomplish what God has determined shall be done. That is the kind of God we have.

Paul is not only impressed with God’s inscrutable wisdom and ways, but he contrasts it with the impotence of man. He asks three very searching questions. His first one is, “Who has known the mind of the Lord?” What he is asking is, “Who has ever anticipated what God is going to do?” Have you? Have you ever been able to figure out how God is going to handle the situations you get into? We all try, but it never turns out quite the way we think it will. There is a little twist to it that we never could have guessed.

Paul’s second question is, “Or who has been his counselor?” Who has ever suggested something that God has never thought of? Have you ever tried that? I have sometimes looked at a situation, have seen a way to work it out, and have suggested to God how he could do it, thinking I was being helpful. But it turned out that he knew things I didn’t know and was working at things that I never saw and couldn’t have seen. God’s solution was right, and mine would have been wrong.

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Paul’s last question is, “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” That is, “Who has ever given God something that he didn’t already have?” Paul says, “Everything we are and have comes from him. He gives to us; we don’t give to him.” He concludes with this great outburst: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” God is the originator of all things; all things come from him. He is the sustainer of all things; they all depend on him. As C. S. Lewis puts it, “To argue with God is to argue with the very power that makes it possible to argue at all!” He is the end purpose. All things will find their culmination in God. He is why all things exist. Therefore, “to him be the glory forever! Amen.”

Thank you, Father, for this look at something of the wonder of your Being. How far beyond my stumbling words your greatness is! How mighty and vast you are, Lord, how powerful among the nations of earth.

Life Application

What significant changes in attitude and action would result if this grand and glorious Doxology were the basic, day-by-day guideline in our lives? Worship? Humility? Trust? Joyful surrender to God’s will?

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